The Jane Gifford Society, Warkworth, New Zealand

The Jane Gifford: Restoration

The new Jane Gifford Restoration Trust was set up in 2005 when the remains of the Jane Gifford were purchased from the Jane Gifford Trust.

The hull of the Jane Gifford was transported to Warkworth in 2005 and moved to a building site behind Robertson Boats Limited in Warkworth.  The long job of restoration began.

For six months volunteers worked on the removal of rotten timber from the vessel.  By March 2006 the hull was ready for rebuilding.  The removal of all rotten and decayed timber resulted in only the bottom planking and keel remaining with the bow sections retained in place as a building pattern for the replacement.

The boat was levelled and jacked back into shape.  A decision was made after consultation with boatbuilders to rebuild the boat as closely as possible to her original appearance but to use durable materials and in particular to ensure that no fresh water would enter the hull through the decks.  The demise of the “phantom fleet” of approximately 130 scows was largely due to the boats rotting out due to decks leaking fresh water after they were retired from active cargo carrying service.

First grade kauri was unobtainable at any reasonable price and the hull was rebuilt using H3 treated pinus radiata timber.  This was especially dried and dressed after being treated to present a good surface for glueing and the hull was laminated, glued and nailed.  The bottom planking consisted of the original athwartships planking with an additional three laminations and three laminations on the topside.  The decks were constructed of plywood fibreglassed and painted and the cap rail was made of kwila.

The sails came from the Jane Gifford Trust at Okahu Bay and were the sails used on the boat in Waiuku.  They comprise a gaff mainsail, gaff mizzen, three fore sails, and two topsails. Shaw Diesels reconditioned two four cylinder 70 HP 4LW Gardner diesel motors manufactured in Manchester in about 1958,  with new gear boxes.

New masts were sized down from spars gifted from the three masted schooner “Shenandoah” which sailed to New Zealand in 1998 for a refit.  The Oregon masts were sized down from 20 inches to 12 inches in diameter and are 17 metres high with 7.5 metre tapered top masts.

The restoration was undertaken with the assistance of many hours of volunteer labour and also a paid workforce of between 1 and 4 workers from 2006 to 2009.

The restored vessel was launched by Rodney District Council Mayor Penny Webster in May 2009 at Warkworth.

The Jane Gifford will be used as a passenger-carrying sailing vessel for tourism, youth training, weddings, special events, a flag ship for future Mahurangi Regattas, trips down the Mahurangi River and on the Hauraki Gulf. She will be able to carry up to 50 people and regular excursions will help pay for her ongoing maintenance. School children will be able to experience life as it was experienced by former generations. Local schools are enthusiastic about the project. It is anticipated that educational trips will be free.

The old and the new

Time to begin onthe bottom

Looking aft showing the new partitions

See more photos in the restoration gallery...

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